As I read and edit student papers, I find myself crossing out a lot of superfluous (read: extraneous, unnecessary) language which weakens the writing. Often, this extra language takes the form of: “I believe…”, or “In my opinion…”, or “personally, in my opinion, I feel like…”. My thoughts in this are: if you’re writing it in a paper, your reader can assume that it’s your belief, opinion, feeling, etc. Taking out this language makes a statement stronger, more assertive, more clear and certain. This recent article, Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’ by Molly Worthen (April 30, 2015, New York Times Op Ed) takes a deeper look at this qualifying, weakening language and analyzes it in terms of larger sociological factors. Have a look. Do you agree with Ms. Worthen? Do you find that you use this qualifying language in your own writing or speech?
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